15 February ~ Rangers FC are now in administration. Not only has this happened far quicker than anyone anticipated but it transpires that the fault lies most squarely with current owner Craig Whyte. Perhaps appropriately for the club that flies more Union Jacks than any other in Britain, it was Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs that finally, conclusively exposed the Rangers chairman as a fly-by-night. Whyte applied for administration on Monday with a statement claiming Rangers could never win the case brought against the club for tax evasion by the previous owner. HMRC, however, went to court on Tuesday solely to chase taxes unpaid since Whyte's takeover in May 2011.
Such were the accelerated claims and counter-claims, some fans felt briefly relieved that Rangers were going down this draconian route by their own hand. HMRC would, according to Whyte, be owed anything up to £75 million if they won the large legacy tax case against the club. This was apparently driving the authority's late attempt to control the administration process at Ibrox.
When the court decreed that Whyte could appoint the administrators, it made it almost impossible for the tax authorities to recoup all they are owed. Entering administration nine days earlier than anticipated, and surrendering the SPL title to Celtic, seemed worth it.
HMRC were expected to be the largest creditor, so Whyte appeared to have won a courtroom victory. The threat of liquidation had abated. However, former Ibrox chairman Alastair Johnston immediately contested – in the court of Sky Sports News – Whyte's recent assertion that the legacy tax bill could be more than £49m.
Late on Tuesday HMRC confirmed it had acted that day regarding only a previously-unpublicised £9m in taxes unpaid since Whyte took control of Rangers. Along with the £24m he borrowed on future season ticket sales, this means Whyte has created a debt of at least £33m in just nine months. Emotional scenes outside Ibrox turned angry as the chairman was recast as an asset-stripper.
SPL rules state that Rangers will be deducted ten points. So, although they remain well ahead of third-place Motherwell, Celtic have all but won the title. If Rangers are not out of administration by the end of March they will be disqualified from next season's European competitions.
PFA Scotland have met with the players. As the most senior figure at Ibrox they can trust, manager Ally McCoist is now unimpeachable with the fans. David Murray has been the first off-stage character to deny he is about to buy Rangers back from Whyte.
We have seen this week exactly how much the club is hated, but also the depth and breadth of love for it. I blame no one for wanting Rangers liquidated. Neither do I blame Murray for our present state. He tried everything to please a support seemingly satisfied by nothing.
Rangers' commercial exploitability has been given one huge cross-platform, multimedia advert this week. Its establishment image has been decisively binned but the scale of the club's support has been thoroughly marketed. A full, loud house is expected when Kilmarnock visit on Saturday – providing the police have been paid. Alex Anderson